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Workers Call On Governor Newsom To Extend Additional Sick Leave Benefits

Masked grocery worker standing in front of a Food 4 Less.
Workers say the extended sick leave has relieved financial stress in uncertain times.
(UFCW 770)
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California workers and public health experts called on Governor Gavin Newsom to extend COVID-19 sick leave benefits.

State lawmakers gave full-time employees 80 hours of additional sick leave in March of last year, but those benefits expire on Thursday unless extended through a special legislative session or by executive order.

Carolyn Denise Barlage is a grocery store worker in Huntington Park. She says these benefits allowed her to keep herself and her workplace safe when she was exposed to COVID.

"SB 95 meant that I was able to take the time off I needed to go get tested and quarantine myself until I got my test results back," Barlage said. "Fortunately, I didn't get sick, but many of my coworkers did and they were able to quarantine themselves and fully recover without having to worry about losing pay."

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When supplemental sick leave expires, workers will only have access to three state-mandated sick days. Public health officials say this is not enough time for COVID-19 recovery and that many workers will have to choose between returning to work while sick or losing their jobs.

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